A new 47 bedroom hotel has been given the green light by the independent Planning Inspectorate after being rejected by Greenwich Council.
Developer, Cameo Properties, can now begin building the six storey budget hotel in Tunnel Avenue, close to the A102.
In turning down the application, the council had stated that the hotel would "constitute an overdevelopment of the site that would be out of keeping with the scale, character and appearance of the immediate surrounding area" and that it failed "to make provision for adequate car parking spaces".
But the Planning Inspector, Mr Leslie Coop, disagreed with the council's conclusions. The development "would improve the existing street scene and the character of the area", he wrote in his Appeal Decision.
Despite the hotel having 47 rooms, the proposals include plans for only 13 car parking spaces. Mr Coop commented that the hotel would have sufficient off street parking would be "within walking distance of North Greenwich" bus and tube stations.
A hand car wash is currently in operation on the land and the adjacent house, number 228 Tunnel Avenue, will be demolished as part of the development. The hotel is expected to create 10 full time jobs and 20 part time jobs.
The developer originally applied to build flats on the land in 2005 but this was rejected by the council. A subsequent application in 2007 to build a 27 room hotel was also refused but a revised 17 bedroom hotel was approved. The developer didn't go ahead with that proposal and instead submitted plans for a 47 room hotel late last year.
UPDATED: Developer speaks to Greenwich.co.uk
The man behind the hotel scheme is local developer, Jigs Chana from Cameo Properties. Mr Chana studied at the University of Greenwich and tells me that he has been heavily involved with the local Chamber of Commerce and sat on Greenwich Council's Local Strategic Partnership Board and Local Neighbourhood Renewal Board.
He agreed to talk to Greenwich.co.uk and I began by asking for his reaction to the Planning Inspector's decision:
We are delighted with the Inspectors Decision and we are particularly pleased with the Inspector taking all of our comments on board as submitted in our planning application including our proposal to provide limited on-site parking. This site is very well connected to excellent local public transport connections and the design we have proposed for the affordable 6 storey 47 bedrooms hotel is of high quality and this development will further help local community and businesses to attract new inward investment. Our objective always has been to work with local people and when built we aim to recruit staff locally.
Do you have a timescale for beginning and completing construction?
We are planning to start construction early into new the year with a target to complete the development in time for the start of the London 2012 Olympics – it is a disappointment that we have lost 5 months due to us having to make an Appeal even though Planning Officers had this development ‘Recommended for Approval’ back in March 2010.
Do you think people will be happy to stay at a hotel so close to the busy A102?
Greenwich is very fortunate to have high quality tourism attractions including world class O2 Arena, Historic Greenwich Town Centre, London 2012 Olympics, etc. and Greenwich Council desires to increase its tourism-based economy but in some cases, lacked hotel beds to meet such a demand. The location of this hotel will be very visible from the A102, is very well placed and convenient for our guests and visitors to be able to get in and out with ease without the needing to further clogg up Greenwich Town Centre with traffic. All guest bedrooms are located away from the dual carriageway and by introducing good quality double glazing windows throughout, our guests will be able to enjoy the convenience, clean and comfortable bedrooms whilst paying affordable prices.
Thanks to Dazza for venturing out in the rain this afternoon to get this photo which shows where the hotel will be built.